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Rail Comm Reader


Rail Comm Reader

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The 16 Zone Local RailCom™ Reader Device

Our RailCom™ Reader device, unlike some others on the market, can cope with more than one RailCom™ enabled locomotive in a single zone, and it can distinguish between Short addresses, Long addresses and Consist addresses, as well as cope with Consist Membership. It can also interleave multiple CV requests simultaneously. Software could use acknowledgements to retire successfully transmitted DCC packets and so reduce unnecessary retransmissions in order to optimise bandwidth usage which may be important on large layouts with many locomotives. It can also differentiate between the 6 different types of acknowledgement codes generated by RailCom™ decoders. Unlike some other available systems, ours will detect simple occupancy by non-RailCom™ enabled decoders, lit coaches or resistive wheel-sets. Furthermore, it will also detect the orientation of RailCom™-equipped locomotives on the tracks and, coupled with the DCC commands, this can then be used to infer direction of travel even before the locomotives have started moving. We are also able to receive values for actual speed, load, fuel, water and temperature and are already capable of implementing any further packet types that may be introduced in the future without requiring any firmware alteration. As an additional measure to guard against data corruption our RailCom™ Reader samples each RailCom bit 5 times, reducing the effect of noise on the RailCom signal significantly.

As the content of RailCom™ packets is still subject to change we decided to avoid depending too heavily on processing the RailCom™ data in hardware and defer as much as possible to the computer. To this end our device supports two methods of transferring RailCom™ data. The first is a raw encoding which transfers everything verbatim. The second provides a degree of preprocessing in hardware and is intended solely for use by the Railroad&Co. / Rocrail compatibility layer.

Our RailCom™ implementation allows a maximum 4096 zones per USB port as opposed to the 1024 from Lenz or 239 from Tams. We believe that ESU and Viessmann will be using an implementation similar to that from Lenz.


  • Reads all RailCom signals including RailCom Plus (although no currently
    available software supports RailCom Plus).
  • Firmware easily & safely upgradeable, consequently device is futureproof.
  • Reads identity, load, actual speed, temperature, CVs etc. from those decoders
    which transmit this information.
  • Tested with Lenz, Zimo, ESU, Hornby and Tams RailCom decoders.
  • Copes with non-spec compliant signals from ESU point controllers.
  • Reads locomotive orientation so direction of travel known even when
  • More than one decoder per monitored zone can be read.
  • Tams emulation mode available with more in development (e.g. Loconet).
  • Dedicated software package in development with enhanced scripting features.
  • Can detect simple occupancy as well as RailCom so no separate occupancy
    detector required.
  • Quite simply the most advanced RailCom device made today.

Coastal DCC Ltd
Registered Offices: 71 Alan Road, Ipswich IP3 8EY
Registration Number: 9447637 in England & Wales
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